St. Marcellus of Saint-Gall

27 September

Previous Saint This month Next Saint
[Today's previous saint] [back to Calendar] [Tomorrow's first saint]

Died c. 869-887. Although Saint Marcellus was born either in Scotland or Ireland, he was a monk of Saint-Gall in Switzerland. It seems that he and his uncle, the learned Bishop Marcus, were among a group of pilgrims who stopped at Saint-Gall on their return to the islands. Instead of continuing on, they placed themselves under the direction of Abbot Grimwoald. Marcellus sent his horses and pack mules home, but kept the gold, vestments, and books for the abbey. The 8th-century "Book of Gospels" (manuscript 51), now housed in the Saint-Gall Cathedral Library, may have been one of the books the bishop donated to the monastery.

The young, brilliant Saint Marcellus was given charge of the cloister schools. He is known for having tutored Blessed Notker Balbulus (f.d. April 6), who originated liturgical sequences, as well as other celebrated figures. During this period, Saint-Gall's scribes supplied all of Germany with manuscript books of Gregorian chant, often illuminated.

The Irish with some merit claim him as the instigator of the cultural eminence of Saint Gall. The 11th-century German historian Ekkehard wrote: "It is delightful to recall how Saint-Gall began to increase and flourish under the auspices of Moengal and his colleagues." In the 19th century, H. Zimmer wrote: "In my opinion, there were very few men who in the middle of the 9th century exerted such a beneficent influence upon the German mind in the cultivation of the higher arts and sciences as Moengal and his followers." The abbey necrology calls Marcellus "the most learned and excellent man" (Benedictines, D'Arcy, Fitzpatrick2, Gougaud, Henry, Montague, Tommasini).

Previous Saint This month Next Saint
[Today's previous saint] [back to Calendar] [Tomorrow's first saint]

Lives kindly supplied by:
For All the Saints:

These Lives are archived at:

content © 2008, Ambrose Mooney
layout © 2008, Kathleen Hanrahan and Mo! Langdon
Page last updated: 2 January 2009
Please send us comments, corrections, etc. - Kathleen or Mo!.
This page's URL: <>